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Medical tourism is a booming industry that allows foreign patients to cross international borders to avail necessary medical treatment. Rising healthcare costs, inadequate healthcare facilities, increase in accessibility of better healthcare services and increasing awareness of one’s personal health are factors which are driving the growth of this industry. Initially, the patients would only travel abroad for affordable healthcare facilities. Now the medical tourists are looking for the complete package of high standards of medical infrastructure facilities, skilled medical professionals, ease of communication regarding the treatment and with the staff, immediate treatment with practically no waiting time and overall environment of the chosen destination. In 2018, the global medical tourism market was valued at approximately USD 76 Billion.India has become a global medical tourism magnet, holding 18% of the total industry in 2018. India is gaining popularity amongst the foreign patients as a destination offering high quality and personalized medical care at affordable prices. The country is gradually becoming preferred because of highly skilled and qualified medical professionals and world class healthcare infrastructure. India has internationally accredited hospitals that assist and guide the medical tourists to make their travel experience smooth and hassle free. Apart from modern medicine, India is known for its traditional medical practices like Ayurveda, naturopathy and Yoga. The medical tourism market is expected to grow at an approximate rate of 25% annually from 2018. Most of the revenue generated from medical tourism is due to the private healthcare sector. Major healthcare providers like Apollo, Max and Forties are adopting recent technologies like artificial intelligence and integrating it with medicine. The cost of medical treatment in India is 65-90% lower than the US. Apart from healthcare facilities offered in the country, India is popular amongst the foreigners for its numerous tourists’ sites across the country. Growth of the medical tourism market is largely driving the revenue generated by dependent industries like aviation, transportation, food and hotels. This growth helps in increasing the overall employment opportunities in the country. The Central Government recognizes the medical tourism industry as potential revenue generating market. The Ministry of Tourism has taken many initiatives to promote this industry internationally. The introduction of the medical visa is one of the most effective initiative taken by the government to boost medical travel in India.The research deliverable provides a detailed insight on the medical tourism industry in India. It highlights key points and outlines reasons for the exponential growth of the industry. Frost & Sullivan is of the opinion that more adequate support from the government and tailor made policies specifically designed for medical tourists could lead to further growth of the medical tourism industry in the country. Author: Krishanu Banerjee
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